Page last updated at 13:34 GMT, Monday, 22 March 2010

GMTV rapped over consumer expert

Lorraine Kelly
Lewis makes regular appearances on Lorraine Kelly's GMTV show

GMTV was wrong to allow consumer expert Martin Lewis to promote his commercial website on Lorraine Kelly's show, broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has ruled.

In its March bulletin, Ofcom said GMTV had breached its broadcasting code by re-directing viewers to Lewis's website from the morning show's own web page.

The ruling referred to a segment on 14 January in which Lewis claimed free gym passes were available on GMTV's site.

To obtain them, however, viewers had to "click through" to Lewis's own site.

GMTV said that any suggestion the item in question was intended to direct traffic to its site and then Lewis's was "inaccurate and disingenuous".

It said its viewers could obtain the benefits of the advice offered without visiting Lewis's site,

But Ofcom ruled that "by inviting viewers to obtain further information and vouchers on the GMTV website, and then re-directing them to Martin Lewis's commercial website to obtain that information, the programme was effectively promoting his business."

It therefore found GMTV in breach of Rule 10.3 of its broadcasting code, which "prohibits the promotion of products and services, unless they meet the Code's definition of programme-related material".

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